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Michael E. Cuffaro [7]Michael Cuffaro [5]
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Profile: Michael Cuffaro (Ludwig Maximilians Universität, München)
  1. Michael E. Cuffaro, On the Significance of the Gottesman-Knill Theorem.
    According to the Gottesman-Knill theorem, quantum algorithms utilising operations chosen from a particular restricted set are efficiently simulable classically. Since some of these algorithms involve entangled states, it is commonly concluded that entanglement is not sufficient to enable quantum computers to outperform classical computers. It is argued in this paper, however, that what the Gottesman-Knill theorem shows us is only that if we limit ourselves to the Gottesman-Knill operations, we will not have used the entanglement with which we have been (...)
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  2. Michael E. Cuffaro, On the Necessity of Entanglement for the Explanation of Quantum Speedup.
    Of the many and varied applications of quantum information theory, perhaps the most fascinating is the sub-field of quantum computation. In this sub-field, computational algorithms are designed which utilise the resources available in quantum systems in order to compute solutions to computational problems with, in some cases, exponentially fewer resources than any known classical algorithm. While the fact of quantum computational speedup is almost beyond doubt, the source of quantum speedup is still a matter of debate. In this paper I (...)
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  3. Michael E. Cuffaro (forthcoming). How-Possibly Explanations in Quantum Computer Science. Philosophy of Science.
    A primary goal of quantum computer science is to find an explanation for the fact that quantum computers are more powerful than classical computers. In this paper I argue that to answer this question is to compare algorithmic processes of various kinds, and in so doing to describe the possibility spaces associated with these processes. By doing this we explain how it is possible for one process to outperform its rival. Further, in this and similar examples little is gained in (...)
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  4. Michael E. Cuffaro (2013). On the Physical Explanation for Quantum Computational Speedup. Dissertation, The University of Western Ontario
    The aim of this dissertation is to clarify the debate over the explanation of quantum speedup and to submit, for the reader's consideration, a tentative resolution to it. In particular, I argue, in this dissertation, that the physical explanation for quantum speedup is precisely the fact that the phenomenon of quantum entanglement enables a quantum computer to fully exploit the representational capacity of Hilbert space. This is impossible for classical systems, joint states of which must always be representable as product (...)
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  5. Michael E. Cuffaro & Wayne C. Myrvold (2013). On the Debate Concerning the Proper Characterization of Quantum Dynamical Evolution. Philosophy of Science 80 (5):1125-1136.
    There has been a long-standing and sometimes passionate debate between physicists over whether a dynamical framework for quantum systems should incorporate not completely positive (NCP) maps in addition to completely positive (CP) maps. Despite the reasonableness of the arguments for complete positivity, we argue that NCP maps should be allowed, with a qualification: these should be understood, not as reflecting ‘not completely positive’ evolution, but as linear extensions, to a system’s entire state space, of CP maps that are only partially (...)
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  6. Michael E. Cuffaro (2012). Kant and Frege on Existence and the Ontological Argument. History of Philosophy Quarterly 29 (4):337-354.
    I argue that Kant's and Frege's refutations of the ontological argument are more similar than has generally been acknowledged. As I clarify, for both Kant and Frege, to say that something exists is to assert of a concept that it is instantiated. With such an assertion one expresses that there is a particular relation between the instantiating object and a rational subject - a particular mode of presentation for the object in question. By its very nature such a relation cannot (...)
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  7. Michael E. Cuffaro (2012). Many Worlds, the Cluster-State Quantum Computer, and the Problem of the Preferred Basis. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 43 (1):35-42.
    I argue that the many worlds explanation of quantum computation is not licensed by, and in fact is conceptually inferior to, the many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics from which it is derived. I argue that the many worlds explanation of quantum computation is incompatible with the recently developed cluster state model of quantum computation. Based on these considerations I conclude that we should reject the many worlds explanation of quantum computation.
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  8. Ryan Muldoon, Michael Borgida & Michael Cuffaro (2012). The Conditions of Tolerance. Politics, Philosophy and Economics 11 (3):322-344.
    The philosophical tradition of liberal political thought has come to see tolerance as a crucial element of a liberal political order. However, while much has been made of the value of toleration, little work has been done on individual-level motivations for tolerant behavior. In this article, we seek to develop an account of the rational motivations for toleration and of where the limits of toleration lie. We first present a very simple model of rational motivations for toleration. Key to this (...)
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  9. Michael Cuffaro (2011). On Thomas Hobbes's Fallible Natural Law Theory. History of Philosophy Quarterly 28 (2):175-190.
    It is not clear, on the face of it, whether Thomas Hobbes's legal philosophy should be considered to be an early example of legal positivism or continuous with the natural-law tradition. On the one hand, Hobbes's command theory of law seems characteristically positivistic. On the other hand, his conception of the "law of nature," as binding on both sovereign and subject, seems to point more naturally toward a natural-law reading of his philosophy. Yet despite this seeming ambiguity, Hobbes scholars, for (...)
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  10. Michael Cuffaro (2010). The Kantian Framework of Complementarity. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 41 (4):309-317.
    A growing number of commentators have, in recent years, noted the important affinities in the views of Immanuel Kant and Niels Bohr. While these commentators are correct, the picture they present of the connections between Bohr and Kant is painted in broad strokes; it is open to the criticism that these affinities are merely superficial. In this essay, I provide a closer, structural, analysis of both Bohr's and Kant's views that makes these connections more explicit. In particular, I demonstrate the (...)
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  11. Michael Cuffaro (2008). Nativist Models of the Mind. Gnosis 9 (3).
    I give a defense of the Massive Modularity hypothesis: the view that the mind is composed of discrete, encapsulated, informationally isolated computational structures dedicated to particular problem domains. This view contrasts with Psychological Rationalism: the view that mental structures take the form of unencapsulated representational items, all available as inputs to one domain-general computational processor. I argue that although Psychological Rationalism is in principle able to overcome the `intractability objection', the view must borrow many features of a massively modular architecture (...)
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  12. Michael Cuffaro (2007). Which Rights Are Basic Rights? Gnosis 9 (1).
    In this paper I explain and defend the content and justification of John Rawls's conception of human rights, as he outlines it in his major work: The Law of Peoples. I focus, in particular, on the criticisms of Allen Buchanan. Buchanan distinguishes four lines of argument that Rawls uses to derive what, according to Buchanan, is a 'lean' list of human rights: the Political Conception Argument, the Associationist Argument, the Cooperation Argument, and finally the Functionalist Argument. In each case Buchanan (...)
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